Four Watertown City Council Candidates Pass in November General Election | Jefferson County
WATERTOWN – Councilor Lisa A. Ruggiero was just hoping to finish in the top four places in Tuesday’s primary so she can advance to the November election.
In a race with seven candidates, the incumbent easily placed first with 863 votes, according to unofficial results.
In thanking supporters for their votes, the city councilor has already started to focus on the November election and how she will continue to gain their support.
“I look towards the road ahead,” she said, “and I listen to what they want.”
Political newcomer Michelle Capone, former mayoral and council candidate Cliff G. Olney III and Benjamin Shoen, who is also running for the first time, will also be running for two four-year council seats in the election. November.
They finished second, third and fourth respectively in Tuesday’s primary, according to unofficial results.
“I am relieved to be one of the four,” Ms. Capone said.
In a separate race, Patrick J. Hickey and Amy Horton will compete for a two-year seat. Political neophyte Jason Traynor finished third in the three-way race for the seat.
But the surprises of the evening were that Mr. Olney and Mr. Shoen made it to the next phase which will take place in November.
Believing that the incumbent and Ms Capone would be hard to beat, Mr Olney predicted his third place finish, having racked up 409 votes. He said his surprise arrival was a referendum on Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith.
“I am going to work on what is best for the residents, not on special interests,” he said. “There is so much more we can do for the city.
Mr Hickey said he was “a little surprised” to win first place for the two-year seat since the Jefferson County Republican Party backed Ms Horton in the non-partisan race.
“Phase 1 is over,” he said. “Now we will have to deal with phase 2.”
If elected, he will provide the city government with transparency that residents do not now get from the current administration, Mr Hickey said.
Mr. Hickey and Mr. Olney celebrated their first performances together at former Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham’s bar on Pearl Street.
The two-year seat opened with the resignation of former city councilor Jesse CP Roshia. The board has appointed Leonard G. Spaziani as a replacement to meet the deadline until the election.
Ms Capone, who spent a quiet night at the house while awaiting the results, said she would use the campaign to let voters know about her plans for the city. She will also listen to what they have to say about what they would like to see done.
Munching on pizza and chicken wings, Councilor Ruggiero gathered with a dozen supporters at the Paddock Club as the results slowly came in.
She led through the night, initially building a 52-vote gap when the first two districts were announced and continued to build on that lead.
“I just wanted to finish in the top four,” she said.
When this was evident, her husband, Chuck, a local musician, pulled out his guitar and started playing for the small group of supporters.
She explained her easy primary victory with the way she handled her tenure on the board and delivered on her campaign promises of four years ago.
During her four-year tenure, she learned that elected officials should listen to their constituents on what they want, she said. They made it known they wanted three summer pools and to save the Alteri pool at the Alex T. Duffy fairground when Mayor Smith pushed for its closure, she said.
Although she had such a good performance on Tuesday, Mr. Shoen’s fourth place finish ahead of Robert T. Shorr was also a surprise. Mr Shoen is said to have not campaigned much and told some members of the press about his campaign.
Mr Shorr was scheduled to move on to primary until he made controversial statements two weeks ago that Mayor Smith planned to close a fire hall and lay off 15 firefighters. Mayor Smith categorically denied the accusation.
Mr Shorr spent the last days of the campaign defending himself and his claim.